Bass – Distribution of Preferences – 2018 Tasmanian Election

To help explain the mysteries of the Hare-Clark electoral system, I’ve prepared a series of posts that summarise the key points of the distribution of preferences in the five electorates at the 2018 Tasmanian election.

This post summarises the count in Bass.

An important point I feel needs to be stressed is that while the Hare-Clark counting system is complex, voting is NOT complex.

All preferences in the Hare-Clark system are under the control of you the voter. Parties and candidate have no say on how preferences on your ballot paper are counted.

All you need to do is number a minimum of five preferences for your vote to be counted as formal. And you are free to keep numbering preferences beyond five if you want to order other candidates. If you number candidates in the order you would like to them elected, then the complex counting system will apply your votes to your chosen candidates in the order that you specified.

Some people like to bet their preference order against how every one else will vote. Unless you want to spend a lot of time researching guestimates of how candidates will poll, the best tactic to adopt is the one I stated above – simply number candidates in the order you would like to see them elected.

The 2018 Bass Preference Distribution

NOTE – If you are reading this post on a mobile phone, all the tables look much better if you turn you phone ninety degrees to landscape.

The first table below shows the first preference votes recorded by candidate for Bass at the 2018 election. The table also includes accumulated entries for party totals, there having been four party groups plus an Ungrouped candidate in 2018. Candidates are grouped by party and listed in descending vote order. The table for Count 1 includes columns for total votes, a percentage of vote and votes expressed as quotas.

While I have shown party totals, the count is conducted as a contest between candidates, not between parties. How a party goes in the count can depend on how the party’s vote is split across multiple candidates. This became important towards the end of the count in Bass.

Each electorate returns five members. Members need a quota to be elected. The quota is one sixth of the formal vote. The precise formula is the formal vote (64,978) divided by one more than the number of vacancies (5 + 1), ignoring any fraction and adding one. This produces a quota of 10,830.

After the tally of first preferences, three candidates were declared elected with more than a quota in their own right. They were declared elected in descending order of vote, Peter Gutwein (Liberal) first, Michael Ferguson (Liberal) second, and Michelle O’Byrne (Labor) third.

Count 1 – First Preferences

Party (Group)/Candidate Votes Pct Quotas
Liberal Party (A) 38,215 58.81 3.5286
Peter Gutwein (Re-elected 1) 15,213 23.41 1.4047
Michael Ferguson (Re-elected 2) 13,640 20.99 1.2595
Sarah Courtney 5,992 9.22 0.5533
Bridget Archer 1,803 2.77 0.1665
Simon Wood 1,567 2.41 0.1447
Australian Labor Party (D) 17,154 26.40 1.5839
Michelle O’Byrne (Re-elected 3) 10,924 16.81 1.0087
Jennifer Houston 2,258 3.48 0.2085
Brian Roe 1,564 2.41 0.1444
Adam Gore 1,333 2.05 0.1231
Owen Powell 1,075 1.65 0.0993
Tasmanian Greens (C) 6,027 9.28 0.5565
Andrea Dawkins 4,333 6.67 0.4001
Emma Anglesey 561 0.86 0.0518
Emma Williams 469 0.72 0.0433
Tom Hall 394 0.61 0.0364
James Ireland 270 0.42 0.0249
Jacqui Lambie Network (B) 2,985 4.59 0.2756
Michelle Hoult 1,257 1.93 0.1161
Gary Madden 675 1.04 0.0623
Daniel Groat 548 0.84 0.0506
Joshua Hoy 505 0.78 0.0466
Brett Edward Lucas (UNG) 597 0.92 0.0551
Formal 64,978
Informal 3,521 5.14
Total Votes/Turnout 68,499 91.79
Enrolment 74,624
Quota 10,830

Peter Gutwein had 15,213, that’s 4,383 votes more than the quota. The way that Hare-Clark works, all votes beyond the quota are distributed as preferences. But which 4,383 of Gutwein’s votes are surplus? In fact all votes are distributed at a reduced value that turns 15,213 ballot papers into 4,383 votes. The first step is to calculate a transfer value.

The transfer value is calculated as the number of surplus votes, here 4383, divided by the last votes received. In the case of Peter Gutwein, the last votes received was his total of first preferences, 15213. This gives a transfer value of 0.28810885.

All of Peter Gutwein’s ballot papers are counted out to the next available preferences. As Michael Ferguson and Michelle O’Byrne already have a quota, they can’t receive any preferences. Any Gutwein ballot paper with a preference for Ferguson or O’Byrne skips to the next preferences.

All ballot papers are moved to the next preferences, but the number of votes is equal to the number of ballot papers times the transfer value. If 100 ballot papers move to another candidate, they correspond to 28 votes, the calculation always rounded down to the nearest whole vote.

The process is repeated for the surpluses of Ferguson and O’Byrne, each at their own transfer value calculated from their surplus to quota votes. After the distribution of these three surpluses, all three candidates were left with a quota of votes and no other candidate possessed a quota. The totals after this process at the end of Count 4 are shown below.

428 votes or about 6% of the Gutwein and Ferguson surplus leaked out of the Liberal ticket. 59% of their surpluses flowed to the third sitting Liberal in Bass, Sarah Courtney. Preference flows are shown in the “Transfers” column of the table.

At End of Count 4

Party/Candidate Transfers Votes Pct Quotas
Liberal Party (A) -426 37,789 58.16 3.4893
Peter Gutwein (Re-elected 1) -4383 10,830 16.67 1.0000
Michael Ferguson (Re-elected 2) -2810 10,830 16.67 1.0000
Sarah Courtney +4246 10,238 15.76 0.9453
Bridget Archer +1184 2,987 4.60 0.2758
Simon Wood +1337 2,904 4.47 0.2681
Australian Labor Party (D) +101 17,255 26.56 1.5933
Michelle O’Byrne (Re-elected 3) -94 10,830 16.67 1.0000
Jennifer Houston +77 2,335 3.59 0.2156
Brian Roe +64 1,628 2.51 0.1503
Adam Gore +31 1,364 2.10 0.1259
Owen Powell +23 1,098 1.69 0.1014
Tasmanian Greens (C) +90 6,117 9.41 0.5648
Andrea Dawkins +60 4,393 6.76 0.4056
Emma Anglesey +8 569 0.88 0.0525
Emma Williams +7 476 0.73 0.0440
Tom Hall +8 402 0.62 0.0371
James Ireland +7 277 0.43 0.0256
Jacqui Lambie Network (B) +181 3,166 4.87 0.2923
Michelle Hoult +72 1,329 2.05 0.1227
Gary Madden +49 724 1.11 0.0669
Daniel Groat +35 583 0.90 0.0538
Joshua Hoy +25 530 0.82 0.0489
Brett Edward Lucas () +28 625 0.96 0.0577
Exhausted/Loss by Fraction +26 26 0.04 0.0024

With no candidate having a quota, the count proceeded by excluding the lowest polling candidates and distributing preferences. Between Counts 5 and 36 there were eight candidates excluded, the four lowest polling Greens, three lowest polling Jacqui Lambie Network candidates, and the one ungrouped candidate.

Excluding the three elected and eight excluded candidates from the table below, this left nine candidates in the race for the final two vacancies, three Liberal, four Labor and one each from the Greens and Jacqui Lambie Newtork. The totals for each at the end of Count 36 with transfers since Count 4 are shown below.

The table has been re-arranged with candidates no longer listed in groups. Totals by party and transfers are shown at the top of the table followed by the remaining candidate totals and transfers in descending vote order. Candidates with a quota are not shown but their quota is included in the party total. The excluded eight candidates have not been included.

At End of Count 36

Party/Candidate Transfers Votes Pct Quotas
Liberal Party +465 38,254 58.87 3.5322
Australian Labor Party +575 17,830 27.44 1.6464
Tasmanian Greens -260 5,857 9.01 0.5408
Jacqui Lambie Network -256 2,910 4.48 0.2687
Brett Edward Lucas (IND) -625 0
Sarah Courtney (LIB) +216 10,454 16.09 0.9653
Andrea Dawkins (GRN) +1464 5,857 9.01 0.5408
Bridget Archer (LIB) +109 3,096 4.76 0.2859
Simon Wood (LIB) +140 3,044 4.68 0.2811
Michelle Hoult (JLN) +1581 2,910 4.48 0.2687
Jennifer Houston (ALP) +200 2,535 3.90 0.2341
Brian Roe (ALP) +129 1,757 2.70 0.1622
Adam Gore (ALP) +133 1,497 2.30 0.1382
Owen Powell (ALP) +113 1,211 1.86 0.1118
Exhausted/Loss by Fraction +101 127 0.20 0.0117

In the party totals at count 36, Labor had 0.6464 quotas beyond its filled quota but split across the four lowest polling candidates. The Liberals had 1.5322 beyond two filled quotas with Sara Courtney certain of election to the fourth vacancy. The Greens had 0.5408 quotas with their lead candidate Andrea Dawkins.

Counts 37 to 48 excluded the three lowest polling Labor candidates which boosted Jennifer Houston above the Michelle Hoult (JLN) and the two lowest polling Liberals, Simon Wood and Bridget Archer.

4,465 Labor votes were distributed in these counts and 1,064 or 24% leaked out of the Labor ticket. The Labor partial quota slipped from 0.6464 to 0.5481 but was now with a single candidate, falling behind the Liberal’s 1.5670 across three candidates and 0.5722 with one Green candidate.

At End of Count 48

Party/Candidate Transfers Votes Pct Quotas
Liberal Party +377 38,631 59.45 3.5670
Australian Labor Party -1064 16,766 25.80 1.5481
Tasmanian Greens +340 6,197 9.54 0.5722
Jacqui Lambie Network +167 3,077 4.74 0.2841
Sarah Courtney (LIB) +192 10,646 16.38 0.9830
Andrea Dawkins (GRN) +340 6,197 9.54 0.5722
Jennifer Houston (ALP) +3401 5,936 9.14 0.5481
Bridget Archer (LIB) +85 3,181 4.90 0.2937
Simon Wood (LIB) +100 3,144 4.84 0.2903
Michelle Hoult (JLN) +167 3,077 4.74 0.2841
Exhausted/Loss by Fraction +180 307 0.47 0.0283

Michelle Hoult of the Jacqui Lambie Network was now the lowest polling candidate and the next excluded. In this exclusion, Liberal Sarah Courtney reached a quota. Totals by candidate at the end of Count 52 are shown below.

At End of Count 52

Party/Candidate Transfers Votes Pct Quotas
Liberal Party +882 39,513 60.81 3.6485
Australian Labor Party +708 17,474 26.89 1.6135
Tasmanian Greens +367 6,564 10.10 0.6061
Jacqui Lambie Network -3077 0
Sarah Courtney (LIB) (Re-elected 4) +407 11,053 17.01 1.0206
Jennifer Houston (ALP) +708 6,644 10.22 0.6135
Andrea Dawkins (GRN) +367 6,564 10.10 0.6061
Bridget Archer (LIB) +263 3,444 5.30 0.3180
Simon Wood (LIB) +212 3,356 5.16 0.3099
Michelle Hoult (JLN) -3077 0
Exhausted/Loss by Fraction +1120 1,427 2.20 0.1318

Count 53 then distributed Sarah Courtney’s surplus. Under the Hare-Clark system, only the last votes received are examined for preferences. In this case the last votes received were 407 votes from JLN’s Hoult. For that reason only 123 of Courtney’s surplus went to the other Liberal candidates and 81 votes exhausted preferences. The totals at Count 53 are below.

At End of Count 53

Party/Candidate Transfers Votes Pct Quotas
Liberal Party -100 39,413 60.66 3.6392
Australian Labor Party +10 17,484 26.91 1.6144
Tasmanian Greens +7 6,571 10.11 0.6067
Sarah Courtney (LIB) (Re-elected 4) -223 10,830 16.67 1.0000
Jennifer Houston (ALP) +10 6,654 10.24 0.6144
Andrea Dawkins (GRN) +7 6,571 10.11 0.6067
Bridget Archer (LIB) +61 3,505 5.39 0.3236
Simon Wood (LIB) +62 3,418 5.26 0.3156
Exhausted/Loss by Fraction +83 1,510 2.32 0.1394

There are now only three parties and four candidates left in the count. The surplus quotas remaining in the race are Greens 0.6067, Labor 0.6144 and the Liberals 0.6392 but split across two candidates with the next candidate to be excluded being Liberal Simon Wood.

Wood’s preferences are distributed at Counts 54 to 58 and there is enough leakage out of the ticket to see the final Liberal candidate Bridget Archer slip to third place. Totals after Wood’s exclusion are shown below.

At End of Count 58

Party/Candidate Transfers Votes Pct Quotas
Liberal Party -458 38,955 59.95 3.5970
Australian Labor Party +86 17,570 27.04 1.6223
Tasmanian Greens +90 6,661 10.25 0.6151
Jennifer Houston (ALP) +86 6,740 10.37 0.6223
Andrea Dawkins (GRN) +90 6,661 10.25 0.6151
Bridget Archer (LIB) +2960 6,465 9.95 0.5970
Simon Wood (LIB) -3418 0
Exhausted/Loss by Fraction +282 1,792 2.76 0.1655

The leakage of preferences means Liberal Bridget Archer is in third place behind Green Andrea Dawkins and Labor’s Jennifer Houston. Houston leads Dawkins by 79 votes.

66% of Archer’s preferences exhaust, making no choice between Houston and Dawkins. Those votes that do have preferences favour Houston 1,467 to 745 for Dawkins. With only two candidates remaining and only one vacancy left to fill, Houston is declared elected as the higher polling candidate.

Dawkins was a sitting Green MHA and lost her seat to Houston.

At End of Count 63

Party/Candidate Transfers Votes Pct Quotas
Liberal Party -6465 32,490 50.00 3.0000
Australian Labor Party +1467 19,037 29.30 1.7578
Tasmanian Greens +745 7,406 11.40 0.6838
Jennifer Houston (ALP) (Elected 5) +1467 8,207 12.63 0.7578
Andrea Dawkins (GRN) (Defeated) +745 7,406 11.40 0.6838
Bridget Archer (LIB) -6,465 0
Exhausted/Loss by Fraction +4253 6,045 9.30 0.5582